Chapter 24: Shattered, Part II

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 651

Zidane nodded, the motion easy as if he had seen the question coming. "That's a good question. It's a little complicated; after the war ended around seventy-five—now eighty-five—years ago, both sides agreed on a peace treaty. They'd keep their factions separate, each race has half of the inner world, discounting the neutral zone that runs along the center. However, despite this agreement, Razaleks can't keep their nose out of other people's business and every so often sent down what were basically spies. People to check up, see if things were running smoothly, if there were any good cultural changes that they could adapt to their own society." He motioned to the river, to the empty spot where Orah had been standing. "He was one of those agents. Researchers, they called them. Randomly selected. How he met my mom and why he chose to stay, bring Adelah with him, I never found out."

Lance bit back the urge to ask why, what had prevented him from knowing. Maybe neither of them had cared enough to pry. Maybe the less amount of interactions, the better...

Another thought popped up, coaxing a laugh from Lance. "What I'm really not getting is why all this, why stay in this town? Wasn't there somewhere safer you could go?"

"Yes and no," the crossbreed replied, shifting in a small rocking motion. "Yes in the sense that, yeah, of course we could've gone out in the barrens or even in the neutral zone near the Equator. I'm sure in a lot of ways, this part of my life would have been significantly easier than it was."

His eyes went dark at this statement, and after a moment he turned away, shutting them tightly, a single word of hesitation falling from him as he tried to remember. When realization came, his eyes opened, normal blue present.

"But instead we stayed," he continued. "Mainly because of how close Yittek was in case of any emergencies, which actually happened a lot at my age, come to think of it."

At Lance's surprise, Zidane gave a kind shrug. "It's part of having mixed blood. We can get deeper into it later, but the basics that my two sides see the other as an infection. It's a little bit like a war; each side wants to get rid of the other." A grin hooked onto his face. "Now, it's built up more of a tendency, I guess you could call it. They're getting along better so it's less frequent. But anyway, Yittek had been checking up on me before I was born, so he knew what to do. He's also had experience with... mixes like me."

"Wait, there's more like you?"

Zidane shrugged. "None that have survived, as far as I know. Most of the time, the initial infection, that first battle that takes place between the blood, kills them pretty quickly. But I don't know; Yittek said that there was something about the serum he injected that just seemed to work with me."

After a moment of searching the earth below, Zidane looked to Lance again. "So to keep answering your question, we mainly stayed because of Yittek. It made looking after me easier, with him being in the same area and all."

Lance nodded, slipping his hands in his hoodie pocket. He stayed silent, mind picking up every event, every foreign word he had come across so far. But the stream of information was suddenly interrupted, a question that had come to him in the beginning appearing once again.

"Last one and I'm done. Why's everyone speaking English?"

A smile came to the crossbreed, one that held a joke. "So you can understand it." Lance's expression fell, laughter erupting from the crossbreed. Shrugging the last of his amusement away, Zidane continued on. "If it'd be quicker to put subtitles below your sight, I would. But I think it's just easier for both of us to translate the memory." Pausing, he looked to Lance again. "Is there another language you'd prefer?"

Lance quickly dismissed the question, and at Zidane's nod, the forest went silent again. There was only a darkening of eyes, and then something of a sigh fell from the crossbreed's mouth.


His small body faded from Lance's sight, and almost immediately the scene changed. Lance found himself on the opposite side of the river, standing under the same tree Kyrene and Zidane were underneath.

Adelah faded in beside him, slouched against the tree Zidane and his mother had been against earlier. Her chin was against her chest, hands folded at her stomach, a position Lance remembered himself taking during many of his school days. With this thought, the nostalgia was replaced with a heavy hit; he hadn't even graduated high school.

Yet. There's still hope.


He looked up, studying the ugly snarl on Adelah's lips. With the sound of gently-moving water, Lance turned to see Zidane standing in the river's center. The crossbreed kept his stature hunched, hands clawed as his stare remained fixed below him. The water only hit his waist, and at the question of how he was standing without being carried away by the current, Zidane's voice came to his head.

"Elevating spell," he said. "It's the reason Adelah's here."

Zidane's hands flashed in and out of the water. Lance watched him repeat this at a different spot before he heard Adelah's overly dramatic sigh.

"It's been hours, Konachi!" she whined, feet tapping together. "When can we go?"

Zidane's hands dove back into the water, the dense sound of their submergence and withdrawal his only reply.

Adelah huffed, frowning again. She sat up slightly and looked around, seeming to be searching for something as Lance turned back to Zidane. With a step forward, he focused on the water below the crossbreed's waist, watching the fish evade every attempt at being caught.

"You know what's funny?" Adelah asked. Turning, Lance saw something that resembled a lizard on her hand. But then her fingers moved as if she were adoring a ring on her finger and he spotted the lizard's long snout, occasionally moving across Adelah's skin the same way a fly's would.

"I've always wondered what Teptiks would look like without that long nose. Wouldn't that be weird? They wouldn't be able to eat anything—or maybe they'd just have a mouth instead like a Tree Wisk—"

"Adelah." Zidane interjected, arms drawing away from his chest in emphasis. "Please. I'm trying to focus."

"Well I'm trying to entertain myself! It's silly enough that you dragged me along with you, but the fact that you actually think catching one is going to help you in any way is just ridiculous!"

Despite the comment's sting, Zidane ignored her, his hands striking the water's surface more forcefully. Again, they came up empty.

When Adelah spoke again, her voice was quieter, venom threaded through her words this time. Zidane's hands dove in again.

"You know catching one won't make him love you."

Submitted: November 20, 2019

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